OXYGEN FILES: Amidst the smoke and fury of this summer’s bushfire catastrophe, there is a positive note – the growing recognition of the value of Aboriginal fire and landscape management practices. Key among the listeners is the artistic haven of the Bundanon Trust at Shoalhaven south of Sydney, which has embraced indigenous fire practices not long before it was threatened by fire early this month.
Last week saw an unprecedented outbreak of large, intense fires stretching from the mid-north coast of New South Wales into central Queensland.
A few weeks ago, I had to drive to Brisbane and, unexpectedly, drive back to Sydney just a few days later. It’s a journey I’ve been doing once or twice a year for 19 years. Over that time, I have seen dry periods and bushfires but this trip was different.
The Queensland state government has refused to issue occupancy permits for Iglu’s new student unit building in Mary Street, Brisbane, after concerns were raised about non-conforming cladding and its similarity to the aluminium composite panelling implicated in fires in Dubai on New Year’s Eve and at the Lacrosse fire at Docklands in Melbourne last year.
Southeastern Australia has had its first taste of summer, with some unseasonably warm weather breaking temperature records for early October. It follows on from a September that was hotter and drier than usual for much of Australia.
The Hazelwood Mine Fire inquiry has made 18 recommendations to the state government and mine operator GDF Suez following the largest and longest burning mine fire that has ever occurred in the Latrobe Valley, blanketing the town of Morwell in smoke, ash and carbon monoxide, and causing in excess of $100 million in costs.